Questions and answers about Kyle Busch’s move to RCR

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Kyle Busch’s announcement Tuesday that he’s signed a multi-year contract to drive for Richard Childress Racing in 2023 was anticlimactic because of a report this past weekend that the deal was done.

But there remained a number of questions. Some of those questions were answered Tuesday.

Here are key questions and answers (where possible) about Busch’s move from Joe Gibbs Racing after this season to drive for Richard Childress Racing:

What car number will Busch drive?

He’ll be in the No. 8 car.

Childress said he spoke to Tyler Reddick about an hour before the announcement that Reddick would not be in the No. 8 car next year. It was a less-than-subtle reference to Childress saying previously he was not aware of Reddick’s announcement to 23XI Racing in 2024 until about an hour before it was made.

Said Childress of his conversation with Reddick Tuesday: “I just told him we had a contract to race next year and I’ll talk to him later about keeping him posted on how it’s going and what we’re going to be doing, how we’re going to put it together.”

Who will Busch’s crew chief be?

Randall Burnett, who is serving as Reddick’s crew chief, will move over to Busch’s team next year.

“We’re both going to have to learn each other,” Burnett said. “I know when he comes in, it’s all business on the weekend, it’s come to win. That’s what I like. That’s just what I like to do. It’s going to be my job to give him everything he needs, and I don’t mind the pressure.”

Who will be Busch’s sponsors?

Childress did not announce any sponsors, saying those would be forthcoming. He said the team “already had some commitments.”

Will Busch have an ownership stake in RCR?

No.

How many cars will RCR run next year?

Three. Childress will have teams for Busch, Reddick and Austin Dillon. All three will have a charter, meaning Childress will need to acquire a third charter.

Childress said: “Our plan is to race three cars next year, and we’re way down the road on that.”

Where does the other charter come from?

Childress would not discuss where it was coming from or if it will be a one-year lease or be purchased.

What is something included in Kyle Busch’s contract?

That he can drive in the Indianapolis 500 if he can find a Chevrolet team. Busch had previously been prevented from getting a ride in that race because of car owner Joe Gibbs.

Kurt Busch competed in the 2014 Indianapolis 500, finishing sixth to earn Rookie of the Year honors.

“I made sure it was in the deal,” Kyle Busch said.

But he also admitted it wasn’t a key point in talks.

“None of the teams that I spoke to, that was not on the priority list,” Busch said. “The priority list was ‘Can I win races? Can I win championships? And then what does KBM look like?’ Indy 500 wasn’t on that paper.”

Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. Vice President, Performance and Motorsports, said of Busch in the Indy 500: “Where that goes, who knows?

What happens to Kyle Busch Motorsports?

It will be a Chevrolet team, but a deal is not done on what it will look like, whether it will be one, two, three or four teams.

Campbell said: “We’re still talking to Kyle about KBM. … In Trucks, we have two drivers that made the playoffs, one of them got washed out last week. We only have one left. We’ve got to be stronger in the Truck Series. Where that goes specifically with KBM, we’re still working on it.”

How did a deal not get done with Joe Gibbs Racing?

Said Busch: “Only thing I can say to that is that it didn’t happen. Apparently, they’ve got other irons in the fire, maybe other sponsors, and that’s the road they’re going down.”

Asked if he thought JGR would rather get a driver that wouldn’t cost as much as a two-time Cup champion, Busch said: “Fair assessment.”

Busch said he was informed that the No. 18 car was not an option at a point in the process.  

How did this pairing of Busch at RCR come together?

Austin Dillon said that shortly after Tyler Reddick announced he would drive for 23XI Racing in 2024, he suggested to his grandfather that they talk to Busch.

Childress told Dillon: “If you can line the meeting up, I want to meet with him.”

Childress said he and Kyle first talked at Childress Vineyards, the winery that Childress owns in Lexington, North Carolina, about a 10-minute drive from the Richard Childress Racing complex.

Dillon said something Busch did for him years ago resonated and made it easier to reach out to Busch. 

“One thing Kyle did for me, when I was coming up in the Truck series, we raced against each other a lot in 2010, 2011,” Dillon said. “He pulled me aside at Nashville one time when he was starting his Xfinity team and he offered me a job to come drive for him. 

He said, ‘Would you be interested in driving Xfinity car, Nationwide then, for me?’ It kind of blew me away because I’ve always been known as the only reason I’ve got a ride is because my grandfather. So he was one of the only guys to offer me a ride other than my grandfather. 

“I always remembered that about Kyle, even through the family stuff, the fight and all that. I always had kind of a soft spot because he offered me a job other than my grandfather. So when it came around to working on who’s going to drive this car, I pushed for Kyle.”

What does Busch see out of RCR that makes him think he can win there?

“I’m hopeful that a fresh start can kind of clean up some of the aggravations of mistakes and things like that that have kind of happened over the last couple of years on my side of things,” he said. “But just also to seeing the investment and everything that Chevrolet has been putting into the sport and their new tech center and all that is intriguing. Looking forward to seeing what all that’s all about. 

“But to just be able to go race and get back behind the wheel again, to think that you are wanted somewhere and you have people that are excited about having you. As Richard mentioned, the whole organization, everybody on the shop floor is all asking questions.”

What role does Busch envision in helping RCR be better?

“I haven’t gotten into the trenches on much of that yet,” he said. “But, obviously, they have a good foundation and they have a good start.

“It’s just a matter of the knowledge and information that I feel like I have that I can bring to the table, bringing attention to areas in which make you a championship caliber organization.

What was the message Dillon gave Busch about Richard Childress Racing?

“I told this to Kyle, ‘We’re survivors and we’re fighters at RCR,” Dillon said. “We go through ups and downs throughout time, but we still come out the other side fighting, and we figure out ways to survive.

“You’ll never have to worry about that at RCR. When you’re a part of this organization, we’re going to fight together as long as you’re willing to fight with us. We’re gonna fight together. I think that was something for him to know that no matter what we go through, we’ll make it work. That’s what we do. We’re good at that.”

Who replaces Busch in the No. 18 car next year at Joe Gibbs Racing?

Expect that to be Ty Gibbs. JGR has not made an announcement but that should be coming sooner than later.

Chase Briscoe, AJ Allmendinger in first on-track conflict of the season.

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LOS ANGELES — The first on-track conflict of the 2023 NASCAR Cup season?

Did you have Chase Briscoe and AJ Allmendinger?

They made contact during Saturday night’s practice session at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for the Busch Light Clash.

Busch Clash practice results

Briscoe explained what happened from his point of view.

“(Allmendinger) was slowing down so much on the straightaway to get a gap (away from other cars),” Briscoe told Motor Racing Network. “I felt like I was beside him pretty far down the straightaway. I got in there a little hot for sure, but, honestly, I thought he was going to give it to me since we were in practice. Went into (Turn) 3 and he just drove me straight into the fence. Definitely frustrating. … Just unfortunate. We don’t have a single back-up car out there between the four of us at SHR. 

“Definitely will set us behind quite a bit. Just chalk it up in the memory blank.”

Asked what happened with Briscoe, Allmendinger told MRN: “He ran inside of me, so I made sure I paid him back and sent him into the fence.

“It’s practice. I get it, I’m struggling and in the way, but come barreling in there. I just showed my displeasure for it. That’s not the issue. We’re just not very good right now.”

Earlier in practice, Ty Gibbs had to climb out of his car after it caught on fire. Gibbs exiting the car safely. The Joe Gibbs Racing team worked on making repairs to his No. 54 car. NASCAR stated that the car would not be allowed to qualify because of unapproved adjustments, modifications not directly related to the damage.

NASCAR will not race at Auto Club Speedway in 2024

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LOS ANGELES — Auto Club Speedway will not host a NASCAR race next year because of plans to convert the 2-mile speedway into a short track.

It will mark only the second time the Cup Series has not raced at the Southern California track since first competing there in 1997. Cup did not race at the track in 2021 because of the pandemic.

Dave Allen, Auto Club Speedway president, also said Saturday that “it’s possible” that the track might not host a NASCAR race in 2025 because of how long it could take to make the conversion. 

MORE: Details for Sunday’s Clash at the Coliseum 

NASCAR came to the Fontana, California, track during the sport’s expansion in the late 1990s that also saw Cup debut at Texas (1997), Las Vegas (1998) and Homestead (1999).

Auto Club Speedway begins the West Coast swing this season, hosting the Cup Series on Feb. 26, a week after the Daytona 500. The series then goes to Las Vegas and Phoenix the following two weeks.

Auto Club Speedway has been among a favorite of drivers because of its aging pavement that put more of the car’s control in the hands of competitors. 

Allen said that officials continue to work on the track’s design. It is expected to be a half-mile track. With NASCAR already having a half-mile high-banked track (Bristol) and half-mile low-banked track (Martinsville), Allen said that a goal is to make Auto Club Speedway stand out.

“It has to make a statement, and making sure that we have a racetrack that is unique to itself here and different than any of the tracks they go to is very important,” Allen said. “Having said that, it’s equally important … to make sure that the fan experience part is unique.”

Kyle Larson, who won last year’s Cup race at Auto Club Speedway, said that he talked to Allen on Saturday was told the track project likely will take about 18 months. 

“I don’t know exactly the extent of what they’re doing with the track, how big it’s going to be, the shape or banking and all that, and I love the 2-mile track, but I think the more short tracks we can have, the better off our sport is going to be,” Larson said.

With Auto Club Speedway off the schedule in 2024, it would mean the only time Cup raced in the Los Angeles area would be at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. NASCAR has a three-year contract with the Coliseum to race there and holds the option to return.

Sunday’s Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum marks the second year of that agreement. Last year’s inaugural event at the Coliseum drew about 50,000 fans. NASCAR has not publicly stated if it will return to the Coliseum next year.

Sunday Clash at the Coliseum: Start time, TV info, race format

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LOS ANGELES – NASCAR is back and back at the Los Angeles Coliseum.

Nearly three months after Joey Logano won the Cup title at Phoenix, Cup drivers return to action this weekend to run the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum exhibition race on Sunday night.

This marks the second consecutive year the series has raced inside the Coliseum, which has hosted the Super Bowl, World Series and Olympics.

Details for Sunday’s Busch Light Clash at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum 

(All times Eastern)

HEAT RACES: There will be four 25-lap heat races. Caution laps do not count. The top five from each race advance to the Busch Light Clash. The first heat race is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m.

LAST CHANCE QUALIFIERS: There will be two 50-lap qualifiers for drivers who did not advance to the Clash through their heat races. Caution laps do not count. The top three finishers in each of the qualifiers advance to the Clash. The 27-car Clash lineup will be finalized by adding one provisional spot for the driver highest in points last season not yet in the Clash field. The first of these two last chance qualifying races is scheduled to begin at 6:10 p.m.

CLASH STARTING LINEUP: To be set by heat races and the Last Chance Qualifiers. Winner of heat 1 will start on the pole for the Clash. Winner of heat 2 will start second. Winner of heat 3 will start third. Winner of heat 4 will start 4th. Runner-up in heat 1 will start fifth and so on.

PRERACE: Cup garage opens at 11 a.m. … Driver intros are at 7:50 p.m. … Invocation by Judah Smith, lead pastor of Churchome, at 8:07 p.m. … The USC Trojan Marching Band will perform the national anthem at 8:08 p.m. … Actor Rob Lowe will give the command to fire engines at 8:15 p.m. … The green flag is scheduled to be waved by USC quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams at 8:20 p.m.

DISTANCE: The Clash is 150 laps (37.5 miles) on the 1/4-mile short track.

STAGES: There will be a stage break at Lap 75 (halfway in the Clash). Wiz Khalifa will perform during the break.

TV/RADIO: Fox will broadcast the event, beginning at 4 p.m. . … Motor Racing Network coverage begins at 4:30 p.m. and also will stream at mrn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the MRN broadcast.

FORECAST: Weather Underground — Partly cloudy with a high of 63 degrees and a 1% chance of rain for the start of the heat races. Partly cloudy with a high of 61 degrees and a 1% chance of rain for the Clash..

LAST TIME: Joey Logano held off Kyle Busch to win the inaugural Clash at the Coliseum. Austin Dillon placed third. .

Catch up on NBC Sports coverage

New NASCAR season features several changes

Clash at the Coliseum provides a reset for RFK Racing 

Harrison Burton looks for progress in second year in Cup

Dr. Diandra: Muffling racecars won’t change fan experience

Drivers to watch at Clash in Coliseum

NASCAR announces rule changes for 2023

NASCAR outlaws Ross Chastain Martinsville move

NASCAR eliminates stage breaks for Cup road course events 

Looking back on 10 historic moments in the Clash

 

NASCAR Saturday schedule at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

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NASCAR drivers are scheduled to hit the track today in competitive mode for the first time in 2023.

Practice is scheduled from 6-8 p.m. on the oval inside the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Single-car qualifying for Sunday’s Clash at the Coliseum is scheduled to begin at 8:35 p.m. (ET). The 36 drivers will be divided into three 12-driver groups for practice.

Cup practice groups

Cup qualfying order

Saturday’s qualifying will set the starting lineups for Sunday’s four 25-lap heat races. The top five finishers in each heat race will advance to the main event. Two 50-lap “last chance” races will follow, and the top three finishers in each of those events will join the feature field.

The 150-lap main event is scheduled at 8 p.m. (ET) Sunday.

For the second consecutive year, the Clash is being held on a purpose-built track inside the LA Coliseum, one of sport’s iconic venues. Joey Logano won last year’s race and last year’s series championship and will be among the favorites Sunday.

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

Weather

Saturday: Intervals of clouds and sun. High 71.

Saturday, Feb. 4

(All times Eastern)

Garage open

  • 2 – 11:30 p.m. — Cup Series

Track activity

  • 6 – 8 p.m. — Cup practice (FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
  • 8:35 – 9:30 p.m. — Cup qualifying (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)